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  1. #1
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    Accident advice - i'm lost...

    I don't know anyone that's dealt with this kind of situation, so i've been a little lost as to how to approach it.

    Yesterday I was going to try to bike to work with a few friends. I had gotten just about a mile or two out of my house and had to cross the street. I rode into the crosswalk, but the ramp to get on to the other side wasn't between the two white crosswalk lines (see link), so i had to veer out of them. I saw a car coming to a rolling stop, but instead of stopping, she rolled into me and hit me broadside. I'm perfectly fine - not a scratch. The woman that hit me seemed to be a bit frazzled, but I was alright. I figured... she didn't mean to, and if this happened to my mom, she'd be scared - I don't have to go legal on her if she can pay for any damages on my bike. Decided not to call her insurance, just got her plate number and drivers license info.

    This is where the fun began....the damage is about $250, but apparently after thinking it over for the day and consulting her husband, she feels that she wasn't at fault since I wasn't technically between the white lines at the point of collision (since i had started to leave them to get on the ramp). I personally feel that if you hit someone a few feet ahead or behind of a crosswalk where you have a stop.. in a residential street, there should be some accountability. Am I wrong - legally? What should I be doing in this situation? I called a lawyer for a free consult, but as soon as he heard it wasn't an injury case, he hung up (obviously there isn't a lot of money to be made here). If anyone could give me some advice that would be really helpful.

    I live in California in case that matters somehow.



    (incident link below)
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...61538461538463

  2. #2
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Good job linking that map and street view. It makes the situation clear.

    While you may have not been between the lines in the cross walk you were beyond the stop sign. I can't see if there is a stop line, but absent a stop line she should have come to a complete stop at the stop sign.

    If there is any confusion about this consider how somebody in a wheel chair would have had to use that cross walk. Since the wheel chair ramp is between the cross walk and stop sign, a wheel chair would have had to go between the wheel chair and stop sign. Would it be okay if she hit a wheel chair?

    Go to your local police and make an accident report right away. Do it now before waiting to talk to her again. Tell her that you filed the report and request her insurance information. If she doesn't want to compensate you, make a claim to her insurance company.

    You were doing her a favor by not going to her insurance company. If she doesn't want to take the favor, make a claim.

    Speedo

  3. #3
    rwp
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    In many places (although not all) it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk. She may have seen you crossing in front of her and assumed that you were continueing along the street, not realizing that you were moving to your right to get onto the sidewalk. If it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk in CA, then your movement, not hers, caused the accident.

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    Thanks for the prompt response!

    Before I report a claim though.. here's my concern. Right now they seem complacent with walking away without having to pay for anything. If i pursue this though, and it's deemed legally not her fault, then the person at fault would be me, right? Does that mean that if her car bumper was scratched when she hit me (which might be the case) I would have to pay for it? I don't have any kind of bike insurance that would cover me, so that would really be the cherry on top of this already screwed up situation.

    I'd be asking my insurance agent these questions if I were in a car, but I wasn't. I'll give them a call for some advice anyway, but if someone else has some insight, it would be much appreciated.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pakoamerican View Post
    but the ramp to get on to the other side wasn't between the two white crosswalk lines (see link), so i had to veer out of them.
    I wonder if there isn't an element of negligence on the part of municipality on the way the crossway and the ramp are situated..

    I'm not saying you should sue the town but you might want to drop them a note about this crosswalk. If she can use her defense against you, then she (or others) can use it against other users of the ramp.

    What were you doing trying to ride on the sidewalk? (I think each town decides on the legality of riding on the sidewalk.)

    Quote Originally Posted by pakoamerican View Post
    I rode into the crosswalk, but the ramp to get on to the other side wasn't between the two white crosswalk lines (see link), so i had to veer out of them.
    I don't think you have a case. You can't ride all over the place and expect magic immunity for happening to cross through some crosswalk lines.

    Is the $250 really worth the hassle?
    Last edited by njkayaker; 04-24-09 at 01:25 PM.

  6. #6
    L T X B O M P F A N S R apricissimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rwp View Post
    In many places (although not all) it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk. She may have seen you crossing in front of her and assumed that you were continueing along the street, not realizing that you were moving to your right to get onto the sidewalk. If it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk in CA, then your movement, not hers, caused the accident.
    She would have had to been pretty darn inattentive to think that the OP would be continuing straight on the cross street since that ramp is pretty far from the street. But even if she did think he was continuing straight, what excuse could there be for rolling right into him?

    In any case, that's a really poorly designed sidewalk.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rwp View Post
    In many places (although not all) it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk. She may have seen you crossing in front of her and assumed that you were continueing along the street, not realizing that you were moving to your right to get onto the sidewalk. If it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk in CA, then your movement, not hers, caused the accident.
    She rolled the stop. That's going to trump his being on the sidewalk or crosswalk should that be an issue.

    Speedo

  8. #8
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    I saw her rolling to a stop, and assumed she saw me. I was getting on the sidewalk because there was no bike lane and in a one lane road, I didn't want to be in front of cars that might hit me (loving the irony)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
    She rolled the stop.
    Since the accident occurred before the stop line (near the ramp), you can't really know if she "rolled" the stop.

    Quote Originally Posted by pakoamerican View Post
    I saw her rolling to a stop, and assumed she saw me. I was getting on the sidewalk because there was no bike lane and in a one lane road, I didn't want to be in front of cars that might hit me (loving the irony)
    Why did you assume she saw you? It appears that you may have ridden in front of her.

  10. #10
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    She did not roll throughh the stop. She was coming rolling to her stop. I was between the STOP painted on the ground and the actual crosswalk. Hope that clears up any confusion.

  11. #11
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    "Why did you assume she saw you? It appears that you may have ridden in front of her."


    I assumed so because I was in the crosswalk when I was approaching, and she was rolling to a stop at a stop sign.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Through the miracle of the internet, here's the sidewalk cycling ordinance in your town:

    Sec. 3-4103. Riding on sidewalks.
    No person shall ride or operate a bicycle on any sidewalk in the city except as herein specifically permitted.
    Juveniles under the age of sixteen years, exercising due care and giving the pedestrians the right-of-way, may ride and operate their bicycles upon the sidewalk, except such sidewalks as are in front of schools, stores or buildings used for business purposes.
    Persons riding bicycles on sidewalks shall do so in single file.
    (Ord. No. 1518, 1, 9-14-82.)

    If you are under sixteen you are home free.

    Speedo
    Last edited by Speedo; 04-24-09 at 02:26 PM.

  13. #13
    L T X B O M P F A N S R apricissimus's Avatar
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    @pakoamerican

    Do you know how fast you were going at the time?

    Upon further reflection, I think you may surprised the motorist if you were moving much faster than a walking pace. She was probably looking ahead to the crosswalk/stop line. If you were going at even 6 or 7 mph it would have been like you were swooping in front of her path of travel.

    Still though, very bad sidewalk design.

  14. #14
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Really bad design. I can't see any stop lines painted either, just the words STOP. Also on one of the other corners (the one the OP came from) the two x=walks lead to a landscaped corner, while the ramp is set back to access the setback sidewalk.
    On another corners the x-walk leads to a dirt patch.

  15. #15
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    I was going pretty slow, I had slowed down because I saw her and proceeded only after seeing that she slowed down (assuming wrongly that she saw me).

    But it looks like there's a lot of things going against me here, legally. I really feel like she was at fault in general - I wasn't out of control, I was slowly approaching, i was just getting out of the crosswalk... and I only aimed for the sidewalk to avoid what I thought was dangerous traffic.....but "in general" isn't what matters here. I wasn't in the crosswalk, and i was going for the sidewalk, which isn't legal in Fremont, CA. At this point it seems like I should stomach the $250 and be thankful that I'm ok.

    Appreciate all the help from everyone. This was my first ride to work, my first accident on a bike, and my first posting to this forum. The last has been the most pleasant.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
    Through the miracle of the internet, here's the sidewalk cycling ordinance in your town:

    Sec. 3-4103. Riding on sidewalks.
    No person shall ride or operate a bicycle on any sidewalk in the city except as herein specifically permitted.
    Juveniles under the age of sixteen years, exercising due care and giving the pedestrians the right-of-way, may ride and operate their bicycles upon the sidewalk, except such sidewalks as are in front of schools, stores or buildings used for business purposes.
    Persons riding bicycles on sidewalks shall do so in single file.
    (Ord. No. 1518, 1, 9-14-82.)

    If you are sixteen and under you are home free.

    Speedo
    You should include the link to the source too.

  17. #17
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Whatever you do raise a stink about the design. If not for your benefit, but for others, especially those who's only choice is to use the ramps placed before the stop.

  18. #18
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Ha, did you notice that the street view actually shows a kid (likely less than 16yrs) on a bike riding between the ramps.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...5&z=19&iwloc=A

  19. #19
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    And here's the stop sign info from the CA drivers handbook:

    Eight-sided red STOP signs mean you must make a full stop whenever you see a STOP sign. Stop before entering a crosswalk or at a white "limit line" which is a wide white line painted on the street. If a crosswalk or limit line is not painted on the street, stop at the corner.

    Hmmm. That's bad if there was no stop line.

    Speedo

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by pakoamerican View Post
    I really feel like she was at fault in general
    She might be at fault but you might be dead. Be careful!

  21. #21
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    You should include the link to the source too.
    I was afraid that the link wouldn't take you right to the spot. It doesn't.

    http://www.municode.com/resources/ga...id=10734&sid=5

    Will get you to the online, searchable (I wish my town did this) municipal codes for Fremont. From there go to Title III, Chapter 4.

    Speedo

  22. #22
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Sounds to me that everyone is at fault; the city, motorist and cyclist. The city for their unsafe crossing. The motorist for not completely stopping and not avoiding a person crossing the road at an intersection. The cyclist for sidewalk riding and and leaving the crosswalk (you could have bunny hopped onto the sidewalk).

    I think each of the 3 parties should pay one third of the cost for the damage to both the bicycle and car.
    Last edited by CB HI; 04-24-09 at 02:26 PM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
    Ha, did you notice that the street view actually shows a kid (likely less than 16yrs) on a bike riding between the ramps.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...5&z=19&iwloc=A
    That is frikin awesome.

    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Sounds to me that everyone is at fault; the city, motorist and cyclist. The city for their unsafe crossing. The motorist for not completely stopping behind the stop line. The cyclist for sidewalk riding and and leaving the crosswalk (you could have bunny hopped onto the sidewalk).

    I think each of the 3 parties should pay one third of the cost for the damage to both the bicycle and car.
    case closed

  24. #24
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    SHE HIT YOU! She failed to have her vehicle under control - I'd press her insurance company --- they'll be happy to pay to get out cheap!

    The other option is to start feeling the pain!!!!! Oftentimes delayed!

  25. #25
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    Contact her insurance if you can. Anyone who operates a vehicle should be able to judge all obstacles before entering an intersection. It seems if she rolled into you, then she wasn't aware of her surroundings. May, at least, spare her from killing someone else.

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